Perth’ed off.

Posted by jswt | Posted in Australia - Perth, General | Posted on 09-05-2011

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So, I’ve just spent my first week in Australia and I don’t really think I’ve got my head around it, or I just haven’t seen enough of it to put in context yet…

Long ass flight from Vancouver to Sydney (15h – yay upgrades to space pod!) followed by a 5h flight to Perth, and I was touched down down under for the first time. We were staying right in the CBD (“central business district”, not “crazy bitches on drugs” though there is overlap it seems), and Perth was beautiful – 26 degrees, sunny, blue skies, greenways, clean glass buildings… but… there was something missing…

The city had no soul.

There’s a lot of money there. Tons. Obviously… The city has grown out of the nearby mining industries, which has obviously placed a lot of money in the local professionals, while moving the great sums back home to the Chinese overlords. Everything is outrageously priced – a simple mediocre appetizer at a restaurant will run $25-30, and entrees easily $40+. Beers at a bar are at least $10, towards $15ish. But, that’s because local salaries match the going rate, and even those who’re locked into minimum wage earn a living wage in australia ($25ish/hr from what I gather).

There was also a wasteland of carnage on the streets after 10pm that I’ve not seen rivaled since our time in Chip Alley in Cardiff on a Friday night (Vancouver Translation: Granville St – 2:15am on a Saturday) – gruff redneck battlecries echoeing down the streets, blokes punching up whoever they can land their fists upon first (including their best friends), and pantyless passed out girls being carried home over shoulders smiling sideways at the world… (All of which, depending on the reader, will be considered a positive or a negative thing).

But, no matter what, there was still the persistent over sanitized, imminently monitored surreality to it all that I just couldn’t connect to… I kind of imagine it to be like a sunny, oceanfront Williams Lake [mining town in Northern Alberta] with a larger dash of British colonializm – there’s a lot of rednecks (boguns) who’ve made a load of cash in the last while, but that doesn’t mean they’ve opened their eyes and minds to the world with it, they’ve just got more money for bigger trucks and more beer.

That’s not to say that Perth was devoid of it’s charms… We spent a few days off at some stunningly beautiful beaches, enjoyed the bar district of Northbridge, caught a Carus show in Freemantle, had a nice nighttime boat cruise around the city (w/ kareoke stripperpole action!), stood and posed with everyone else at The Court, just missed Lesbian Mud Wrestling at Neighbours and saw kangaroos while I ran the beautiful 10km loop around the river.

I just don’t think Perth is a fair representation of Australia, and I’m definately looking forward to seeing what else it has to offer…